Syria has disappeared from the world’s newspaper headlines, but the situation inside the country grows more volatile by the day. In every quarter of Syria, daily life is becoming unsustainable. The impending collapse of Syrian society will create severe dangers for Syrians but will also produce disastrous dilemmas the United States and the international community will find very challenging to resolve.
In Assad Regime Territory
Assad’s alleged constituency is living a life of poverty and hopelessness. People living in Assad regime territory today are shocked by the worsening deprivations of daily life. Damascenes struggle to obtain necessities such as electricity and fuel. In Aleppo, a city once dominated by Sunni Arabs and their culture, Aleppines suffer the same deprivations as Damascenes but now decry the overt expansion of Iranian-sponsored Shi’a institutions and a Shi’a ideology that Syrians consider alien and threatening.
In Assad’s home province of Latakia, residents receive electricity for just fifteen minutes every five hours, making basic household tasks and commerce impossible. Entire towns are virtually bereft of young men, so many of whom have become casualties in Assad’s war. This region that was supposedly Assad’s stronghold is now populated by destitute and forgotten widows, orphans, and the elderly.
The Assad regime has become a mafia, extorting the population with impunity. Assad’s brother, Maher, oversees a vast empire of military checkpoints where Syrians are stopped and face demands for fines and bribes. Wealthy merchants are routinely arrested under false charges and forced to pay penalties to the office of Assad’s rapacious wife, Asma. The Syrian government routinely expropriates the property of wealthy Syrians who fled the country.